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Asthma is increasing in prevalence worldwide and results in significant use of healthcare resources. Although most patients with asthma can be adequately treated with inhaled corticosteroids, an important number of patients require additional therapy and an increasing number of options are available. A further minority of patients develop severe persistent asthma which remains difficult to manage despite current pharmacological therapies. This review discusses the various treatment options currently available for each stage of asthma severity, highlights some of the limitations of current management, and outlines directions which may improve the management of asthma in the future.